NFL Picks Against The Spread 2017: Wild Card Playoff Games

Here are some suggestions when trying to beat the NFL odds.
Eli Manning. (USA Today Sports)

Eli Manning. (USA Today Sports)

Before the first round of the 2017 NFL playoff schedule kicks off, let’s have some fun by taking a look at the spreads for this week’s round of Wild Card games.

Here are suggestions when trying to beat the odds. You can find all of today’s NFL betting lines and more via Bovada. My record at the end of the regular season is 115-105-14 after going 8-8 last week. Let’s get to the post-season picks.

WILD CARD WEEKEND 2017

Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans (-4): This one has the potential to be real ugly. The over/under point total is the lowest for a playoff game since Tim Tebow made his first career playoff start. It’s no surprise why the expectations for this game are so low. The Raiders are down to their third string quarterback, fourth-round rookie Connor Cook. The Texans, meanwhile, are riding with Brock Osweiler, who was just recently benched in favor of the now-injured Tom Savage. The Raiders have some issues on defense, but it’s hard to love Houston in this spot. Yes, they’re at home, and yes, they have a solid defense. But they’re really just not a great team. The Texans rank seventh to last in point differential and 29th in DVOA. Taking a chance on Cook just might worth it. Houston’s average margin of victory this season is 5.5 points, so it’s not like they blow teams out. Give me the points. PICK: Raiders +4

Detroit Lions at Seattle Seahawks (-8): The Lions are entering the playoffs cold; Detroit finished the season on a three-game losing streak. Jim Caldwell’s team went 3-5 in eight road games. One of those wins came in overtime thanks to a long field goal and another one was a four-point comeback victory over the Colts. In other words, Detroit isn’t the most impressive away team. The Seahawks, meanwhile, are typically very good at home. Seattle is 38-6 in their last 44 home games. Only two of those losses have come against non-divisional opponents. Normally, the Seahawks would be the easy pick here. The only problem is that Seattle has faltered a little lately. The Seahawks’ defense has struggled without Earl Thomas so facing potential MVP candidate Matthew Stafford isn’t the best matchup for them. This isn’t an easy choice, but I’ll roll with the home team. PICK: Seahawks -8

Miami Dolphins at Pittsburgh Steelers (-10): Matt Moore has been competent while filling in for the injured Ryan Tannehill, but the Dolphins are going to need more than just competency at the quarterback position to beat the Steelers. Pittsburgh is riding a seven-game win streak into the playoffs. The Steelers’ offense should be able to give the Dolphins’ defense some trouble, especially with Miami banged up at the cornerback position. The Steelers feel like an easy pick in this situation. PICK: Steelers -10

New York Giants at Green Bay Packers (-4.5): The Packers are red hot; they’ve won six in a row. Green Bay is very tough to beat when Aaron Rodgers is playing at such a high level like he is right now. The Giants’ defense figures to give the Packers a good test. Steve Spagnuolo’s unit ranks first in touchdowns allowed, first in red zone defense, second in points allowed, second in DVOA, second in passer rating, and third in rushing. The Packers may very well win this game in Lambeau, but the Giants are never an easy out in the playoffs. There’s upset potential here. At the very least, the G-Men might be able to keep the game close. Much to the chagrin of Eagles fans, I’m taking the points. PICK: Giants +4.5